Alumni Review: Jeff Blackwood, Entertainment Business Management 2010

Jeff Blackwood graduated in 2010 from the Entertainment Business Management program. After graduation Jeff landed a job at Live Tour Artists. Recently, Promotions and Events Coordinator Joel Martin caught up with Jeff to ask him a few questions about his exciting job:

What is your title at Live Tour Artists and what are your responsibilities?

I wear a few hats here at LTA. My signature text will say Agent but on top of booking I am very involved with day to day operations of our office(s). The way our company runs now is very non-typical of a booking agency in that there are agents working for us or affiliated with us located all across the country from coast to coast. Part of my job is to make sure those remote agents have everything they need to do their job as easily as possible and our systems are functioning properly. On the booking side of it I work directly beside the president of the company Dana Kirby and we share a roster that includes some very cool and unique acts. We’re always looking to expand upon our roster making sure that we can properly service each one of our clients. There are a couple of tours in the works for next spring/summer that you should keep your eyes open for!

So far, what have been the highlights of working for Live Tour Artists?

The best part of this job has been working alongside Dana Kirby day in day out. Dana is an extremely passionate dude and will not shy away from telling it how it is – he has been a great mentor for me. I’ve learned so many things that relate the booking side of the industry from him and we’ve become very good friends along the way. One thing I’ve learned is that this business is all about relationships. As much as it is about cutting deals and booking tours, it’s about creating new relationships and maintaining the ones you have.

I’d love to give a specific example of one highlight, but I will leave it at this and say that there’s been many and many more to come.

How has your education from the Institute helped you?

It really taught me that this is one of the toughest industries to get into, and that it’s on you to go out and find the gig that you want. For some reason I think that some of us go through the education system and expect that killer job to fall in our laps. Metalworks really puts you to work, introduces you to a lot of key people, and teaches you basically all there is to know about the whole industry. However, once you get that diploma it’s not their job to get you one, it’s yours. I would have to credit Jim Norris and Vel Omazic as the guys that really stood out and made the most impact on me during my time at MWI.

Which class has turned out to be the most useful?

There are a couple of classes that I found most useful, and those were the classes taught by the gentlemen I mentioned above; Business Communications with Vel Omazic and Marketing with Jim Norris. I find that there’s a real lack of professionalism as it relates to communication in this field, and I personally would like to see that change. Vel’s class taught me the proper way to communicate in both personal and business situations and I use the techniques daily. Jim’s classes have helped in an indirect way. Although I’m not really involved with marketing here at LTA, Jim’s philosophies and advice about persistence, hard work, and relationships have really shaped the way I conduct myself on a business and personal level.

Is there anything else that you would like to add?

I guess I just want to say that the long days and hard nights are worth it, and those early morning Saturday classes are scheduled to show the meaning of hard work. The maximum amount of time you’ll be at MWI is 2 years for one program, and they will fly by. Make the best of those years, and put yourself out there in as many situations as possible. Be honest, co-operative, hard working, and ALWAYS do what you say you’re going to do. You will witness many people saying the words “I’ll let you know” and “I will do ______ by ______” and you won’t hear from them for months. Those people are called flakes – don’t be one of them. Return phone calls, and answer e-mails. Little things like that will go a long way in creating a solid reputation in this business.

We wish Jeff the best of luck with all of his future endeavors!